Much has been made of the appointment of Roy Hodgson as new England manager and his squad selection, as for once a nation does not really expect. Betting Odds suggest Group D is an open affair, as England, France, Ukraine and Sweden look to qualify for the knockout stages.
Are England a certainty to qualify?
Looking at Group D and England to begin with, they are a side that have failed to live up to expectation in recent years. However, they are always touted as one of the favourites when they are involved in a major tournament.
With new manager Roy Hodgson now in charge it is difficult to know what to expect from The Three Lions, who are 9/5 with Paddy Power to qualify as Group D outright winners.
Group D Euro 2012 Betting Odds (best odds quoted)
- England 9/5 with Paddy Power
- France 9/5 with Bet365
- Ukraine 5/1 with Ladbrokes
- Sweden 13/2 with William Hill
Talismanic striker Wayne Rooney is suspended for the first two matches so Liverpool’s Andy Carroll could be called upon to lead the line, and his inclusion has raised some eyebrows. This should be midfielders Frank Lampard and Steven Gerrard’s last tournament, and these two Champions League winners should hold the key to England’s success.
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John Terry will once again be the lynchpin in defence, with Rio Ferdianand missing it could be an all Chelsea affair with Cahill, Cole added to the heart of defence.
Moving on to France, they are another team that has a huge array of talent but have never really jelled as a squad in recent competitions.
Under Laurent Blanc though, the French side were impressive in qualifying and should not be taken lightly as they could be one of the surprise packages in Euro 2012.
The next team to look at are Ukraine. Despite not having a squad of the highest quality they will certainly be tough to beat on their own turf. The atmosphere for every game they are involved in is sure to be electric and each match will be a big occasion.
Home advantage could play a big part for Ukraine and they are capable of upsetting the odds, especially if they gain their momentum from winning the first game.
Finally, Sweden are a side that not too many people are talking about. However, they lost just twice in qualifying and managed a victory over Holland in that campaign so know what it takes to beat the best sides.
With Zlatan Ibrahimovic playing up front for the Swedes, they certainly have a striker who has a knack for scoring goals and this could be his one of his last chances on the international stage.
It looks to be a great group that is difficult to predict and every side will fancy their chances of not just progressing to the knockout stages, but winning the group.